Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Fairbank AK -- Northern Lights ????
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 > Fairbank AK -- Northern Lights ????

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Thermoguy

Graham, WA

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Posted: 10/25/20 10:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have been to Alaska for work dozens of times. I have been to Fairbanks many times in the winter as well as Barrow and Prudhoe Bay. I have never seen the northern lights while in Alaska. Not saying they can't be seen, just saying the weather never seems to cooperate. I know once while in Prudhoe, the bus driver told me they were really out the night before I got there, but the winds and blowing snow had it so you couldn't see them when I was there.

So, good luck. there are tours you can take out of the Fairbanks area, so just book one. They will know what is going on.

As for weather, dress for -40. When you pick up a rental car at the airport, they will tell you you have to warm the car up for 40 minutes or so before you drive off. If you break a belt or do damage to the car because you drove it too soon, that is on you. It's nice to get cars with remote start, but one year the week before Christmas I had a car with no remote start and only 1 key. I had very expensive gear with me so I wasn't going to leave the car running with the keys in it. So, dress for the very cold weather.

With a negative COVID test you can go this year. Might be less other people doing the same thing.

* This post was edited 10/25/20 11:32am by Thermoguy *

EEWally

Missoula, MT and Tahuya, WA

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Posted: 10/25/20 12:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Someone once told me that in his neighborhood in the AK interior somewhere, guys would leave their diesel pickups idling all night when the temp got down there. It stunk up the neighborhood. Is that really so?


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Bionic Man

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Posted: 10/25/20 02:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I travel to Alaska for work (at least in normal years). I've made several winter trips. Add me to the list of folks that haven't seen the lights.

I was there last year around the winter solstice. 4 hours of "daylight". Temps were around -15*F, and never got above 0*.

Just my opinion, but Fairbanks in December is miserable.


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Thermoguy

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Posted: 10/25/20 02:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've not lived there, but I can say most people leave there cars running when they go to the store or even at work. I did some training with a client in Fairbanks. I was there for 3-4 hours mid day. I was the only one that turned their car off. The rest stayed running. I plugged mine in, but also turned it off. I had to start it 30 to 40 minutes before I left. Everyone said it is cheaper to buy gas every day then to deal with the cold or other problems from turning their cars off. I think many people would have a heated garage, but I know that is not the case. They just start them long before they go to work in the morning. My first trip to Prudhoe bay, all the company trucks stayed running 24/7 - someone would come by and fill the tanks to keep them running. that was before low sulfur diesel. Now, they don't do that.

Fairbanks is very smoggy in the winter due to the car exhaust. Probably very unhealthy air.

PA12DRVR

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Posted: 10/26/20 10:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

To the OP....AKSilverEagle provided a good thorough explanation

Only thing I would add is that...after looking at the information...don't "not go" because of cold weather and Fairbanks being miserable in the winter. It can get cold (really cold sometimes) and short dark days in the cold can be sort of miserable, but that's the nature of the beast and a bit of what one gets while chasing the aurora.

I guess I count as a local again, but for a getaway from Los Anchorage, particularly if one avoids January and February, a drive to Fairbanks for a 3-4 day weekend is quite relaxing to me. I'll gladly call Fairbanks "Squarebanks" (just like I say "Los Anchorage") but don't believe all the negative stories about it.


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